tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 23, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
the hawk goes lovey-dovey. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews back in washington. let me start with this tonight. i suppose when you take it all in, the three debates, all that came before it, it comes down to what kind of a president do you want? obama's a man of the world. he respects other countries, accepts the fact we are, we americans, part of this planet. maybe the best part. but we share the world, and we better be a smart, just, and competent citizen in it. we need to take the long view of our interests and use our influence when we can but also avoid stuff that makes the future more dangerous.
romney, well, clearly he's in debt to the hawks, the neoconservatives who write the stuff we heard last night, this talk of accusing the president of iran of genocide for the things he said about israel. it's purely political stuff. that and what he said about russia being our number one enemy in the world today. all this old cold war stuff. what's beneath it? who knows. what we do know is he feels the need to wear that neocon suit. will he rip it off if elected? why would anyone think that? he spoke about wanting a peaceful planet. talk about learning a dance for the occasion. john heilemann and ron reagan join us. mitt has a tendency to assume whatever political profile he thought would best help him win. in 2007 facing a relatively moderate john mccain and rudy
giuliani, he tacked to the hard right. everything could always be tweaked, reshaped, fixed, addressed said one former aide describing his outlook. saying it was foreign to him on policy issues that core principles mattered, that somebody would go back and say, well, three years ago you said this. as the president said today, let's take a listen. >> we're accustomed to seeing politicians change their positions from like four years ago. we are not accustomed to seeing politicians change their position from four days ago. >> john heilemann, this is a unique thing like we've always talked, you can't hold onto a greased pig, it just slips away. this is almost an illusory being, this romney person. what does he believe? he was talking last night like he was george mcgovern, no disrespect to george mcgovern, we just lost him, but this idea of i want a peaceful planet. all this soft putting flowers in the end of guns stuff last
night. where did that peacenik come from and why? >> it came from the same place that the guy who came to denver and talked in the first debate about how -- about bipartisanship and about positions that were considerably more centrist and soft on questions like health care. it came from the same place. we have all been around presidential politics for a long time. there's a standard set of moves where candidates in both the republican and democratic party run to the far right or the far left or farther right or farther left than they really are to get through the nominating process in their parties, and then they begin a gradual drift back toward the center. i think the obama campaign expected mitt romney to do that on domestic policy, on foreign policy in a gradual, traditional way over the course of the summer, into the fall. instead, governor romney kept very much in the hard right mode all through the summer and into the early fall, and then suddenly in the debates, in the month of october, he did something really out of character for most presidential candidates. he made his lurch to the center
in one fell swoop. first in denver and then last night on foreign policy. it's a really bold, audacious gambit. it does raise the question, and i think the question has been asked for the entire time he's been running for president, what does mitt romney actually believe, what's in his heart, what are his core convictions? just making a mistake, if this succeeds, what he's done here, he'll be rewriting the rules for the rule book for presidential politics for years to come. >> forever. ron, it seems to me though there are reasons to believe why he couldn't escape the commitments he made. he signed on with grover norquist, he put it in blood. he put the robes on with pat robertson down in liberty university, honorary degree. totally part of the religious right. they're working for free, all these guys around him from the neocon far right, all the hawks that were involved with the iraq war. so how does he break loose from all these entanglements? are they part of the charade? you go out and pretend you're a moderate, a wolf in sheep's clothing because we want power.
if you have to play that game of looking like a reasonable person to get there, at least we'll win with you, we'll be there at the winning circle. >> well, that seems to be the story with mitt romney. >> they're all cynics. >> yes, it's very cynical. he's like a political cubist. is that his nose, is that a foot sticking out of the side of his head? he's a politician in a fun house mirror. john made an important point there. it's not just about mitt romney. this is going to set a template, if he wins, if he's successful in this big lie strategy of running for president, this will become a template for campaigns on both sides of the aisle moving forward. as you know, people who run campaigns are always waging the last campaign, whatever won there, they're going to drag it into the next cycle or the present cycle. imagine if we find out that you can lie so brazenly and not have to pay for it in a presidential
campaign. in fact, you can triumph through lying. it will be quite an extraordinary thing. >> let's take a look at it, ron and john. let's look at last night. here he is presenting himself as a man of peace saying military action was the furthest thing from his mind, even on iran, on iran. last resort he's talking. let's watch. >> it's also essential for us to understand what our mission is in iran, that is to dissuade iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means. i laid out seven steps. crippling sanctions were number one, and they do work. you're seeing it right now in the economy. it's absolutely the right thing to do to have crippling sanctions. i would have put them in place earlier, but it's good they have them. >> where did we find this sudden scholar, to quote henry v. he was more hawkish on the iran in the primaries. he talked about kinetic action against iran. let's watch. >> if we get to that point and they continue and they look like
they have now created a weapon and have a means to deliver it, do you support a first strike against them either by israel or by us or a combination of the two to halt that process? >> yes, and i think you actually have to act before they actually had a weapon, a deliverable weapon. they have to understand that we will take military kinetic action if they continue to pursue a nuclear option. >> well, he should have said, yes, bubba. he figures this guy must be a right winger, let's feed the guy. there's a different standard altogether from the one he adopted recently. he said if they have a weapon, not if they have a capability. under that standard we could attack holland tomorrow. let me ask you about this, what is he, john heilemann? you're writing the book about him this year. who is he beneath the garb, the neocon clothing, the talk of peace?
>> i don't know the answer to that question. especially on foreign policy. unlike -- we can at least look at his record as governor of massachusetts and make some judgments. in this case on foreign policy, he is a blank slate, and we can only go by the things he said because he's never had a chance to practice foreign policy in the past. i'll say last night we talked about that interview yesterday on your show before the debate where i brought it up, and, you know, he's basically endorsing a first strike against -- not basically -- he is, in fact, endorsing a first strike against iran, a very bellicose posture. last night he sounded -- maybe not totally mcgovernite but barack obamaite. he was endorsing the president's position. i thought i heard somewhere the sound of sheldon adelson and maybe john bolton choking on a pretzel last night. the neocons must not be happy with that new language. it's the case that the country is weary of war. he knows if he's going to win over the undecideds left in the
battleground states, he can't come across like someone who is going to jump into more foreign entanglements. it's an untenable political position at this point. >> i just want to get to iran on this political question, the politics of this thing. i don't know who is more likely to strike at iran if it looks like they're getting close to having a weapon. i wouldn't put it past obama. i think he knows it's essential we do something to prevent that from happening. we have no idea how much of a hair trigger they would have in using it. we have no idea. they're not even like the pakistanis, who are scary enough. it seems to me if you're calculating this election who is most likely to strike, i would do it this way. i would say who is most likely to do it in a way that considers the consequences, they're ready for the reaction, the blowout that's going to come next. we better damn well be prepared
for having the ships in the right place, the alliances in the right place so when it does happen, there's the least negative reverberation because there will be reverberation, and the smart president will be ready for it. not attacking, that's easy. >> obama would have the rational reason for doing it if he ever does it. it's worth mentioning neither hawk romney or dove romney seems to know what he's talking about. he threatened military action if it went -- hawk romney threatened military action if iran continues to pursue its program. presumably if he took office in january, they would still be pursuing their program. does that mean that he launches an attack right then? dove romney doesn't seem to know any better. he says he loves sanctions now, the sanctions are very effective, this is terrific. he would have imposed them sooner. well, here is a news flash. you unilaterally don't impose sanctions. you had to get the world community together to do that, and that took a little bit of time. >> yes. >> i don't think you understand american exceptionalism, ron. under his theory of american exceptionalism, you do it when you damn well feel like doing it, that second. last night romney stated if he were president, we would be out
of afghanistan by 2014. turns out to be the exact same day as the president. let's take a look. >> we've got to be finished by 2014, and when i'm president, we'll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014. >> as i said, that sounds like he's announcing a date of withdrawal, which is odd since during the primaries he was so critical of president obama for doing just that. >> he announced the date of the withdrawal of our surge forces based upon a political calendar, not the calendar that the commanders on the ground said it was based for our mission. that was wrong. this president, however, has done -- made it very difficult for our troops to be able to be successful in that mission by, number one, announcing a withdrawal date for our troops. i think it was a mistake to say the specific date we withdraw. >> i guess, john, he's talking about an alternative strategy of sneaking out of afghanistan. >> that's right. >> it seems like you ought to alert your allies to your general thinking before you conduct it. >> well, again, chris, to the
point, the parallel point to the one ronald reagan, jr. just made, ron reagan just made, those are -- there's a logistical issue. it's not like you snap your fingers and suddenly all of american forces like are suddenly vanished from afghanistan. marching those troops out takes time. it takes movements and material and logistics. you can't do that in an unplanned, ungradual, unmethodical way. it's not like -- again, it's not something you do instantly. there's no way you can surprise -- >> how would he know that? how would he know? you're asking him to know something he doesn't have any way to know. no one in the history of his family looking forward or backward, through all the known generations, has had any interest in the military life at all. how would he know any of this stuff you're talking about? at all? why would he have an interest? >> he would have an interest because he wants to be president.
and the way -- >> this comes with the job. >> if you want -- you can have serious policy advisers around yourself, and one of the things that's true about mitt romney's team, and i say this not in a blanket way, he has some very good people around him on the political side, but he has one of the weakest policy shops on domestic and particularly on foreign policy of either nominee in either party i have seen in my time covering policy. he's not got advisers around him who can tell him the things we're talking about. >> he's running for secretary of commerce, and he's calling it the presidency. thank you very much. coming up, grand theft auto. first mitt romney was against saving the auto industry, then he was, he said, for saving it. now he says he was never against it in the first place. why the switcheroo? three reasons, they're all the same, ohio, ohio, ohio. if romney loses ohio, he probably loses the election. and they've got a lot of car-making people up there. at long last president obama goes up with an old ad -- or a new ad actually laying out his vision for the next four years. it's been a long time coming. is two weeks enough to make his case? we'll see that in two weeks. and, of course, it's the day after the presidential debate. that means the great james lipton is here with us to review from the director's chair. finally, let me finish with
two weeks to go we've got some new senate polls to report. let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. we start in florida where the race looks to be tightening. a new ppp poll gives bill nelson a four-point edge over connie mack. they must have him mixed up with his father. in pennsylvania morning call poll shows democrat senator bobby casey leading tom smith, the self-financer, by eight points. we'll be right back.
states, and his model shows ohio blows away the field. there's an exact 50/50 chance ohio will provide the decisive electoral vote for whoever wins. silver says in the thousands of election simulations he's done, the winner in ohio wins the election 95% of the time. do you like the way they do business, 95% is pretty good for any bet. the reason number two occurred last night in the debate. in a debate that was supposed to be about foreign policy, the most heated exchange between obama and challenger romney came over the auto bailout, an issue of crucial importance to voters in ohio as well as iowa and wisconsin and, of course, michigan. "the huffington post" pollster.com average of ohio polls show the race has narrowed, but obama continues to lead there, 48% to 46%. steve rattner, formerly obama administration lead car adviser, the car czar. from "the washington post" chris
cillizza, an msnbc contributor who knows nothing about cars except he likes it, and he knows a lot about politics. let's look at the most heated exchange. it was spurred by a question about trade with china but went straight to the heart of ohio where one in eight jobs are tied to the auto industry, especially in toledo. >> if we had taken your advice about our auto industry, we'd be buying cars from china instead of selling cars to china. >> i'm a son of detroit, i was born in detroit. my dad was head of a car company. i like american cars, and i would do nothing to hurt the u.s. auto industry. my plan to get the industry on its feet when it was in real trouble was not to start writing checks, and it was president bush that wrote the first checks. i disagree with that. i said they need -- they need to go through a managed bankruptcy. >> governor romney, you keep on trying to, you know, air brush history here. you were very clear that you would not provide government assistance to the u.s. auto companies even if they went through bankruptcy. you said that they could get it in the private marketplace. that wasn't true. they would -- >> you're wrong, mr. president. >> no, i am not wrong. >> you're wrong.
>> i am not wrong. >> look it up. >> romney's "new york times" op-ed headline, let detroit go bankrupt, is often evidence he would let the auto industry fail. in fairness, he didn't select the headline. he would have withheld federal money from the auto industry. he wrote, a managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental reconstruction the industry needs. it would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension, and real estate cost. the federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing. steve rattner, you're the expert. it seems if i want to borrow money as a company to stay alive, i would remember who turned me down. he thinks he got away with it last night, romney. >> i think the president said it exactly right. the fact is that under the romney plan, the companies would have gone into bankruptcy without any government help, but
they would have never come out because there was no private financing to help them during this period. the reason president bush gave them money was because they had no money. they had run out of money. they literally were on the verge of closing their doors, laying off their workers and liquidating. >> so bankruptcy means bankruptcy. he makes it sound like it's managed bankruptcy. it's not really what we think of as chapter 11. >> there's a lot of different kinds of bankruptcy. there's what we did, which was a special kind of bankruptcy that was a quick bankruptcy that we did within 30 to 60 days. romney would have put them into a regular chapter 11, would have led to chapter 7 which is liquidation because nobody was going to finance these companies while in bankruptcy. >> can you say as a car and financial expert that if obama hadn't taken the extraordinary step of going in and lending the $80 billion or whatever it was, that they would have died? ge and chrysler would have died? >> gm and chrysler, no question about it. they did not have money to make payroll, to pay their electric bills, to pay their suppliers. they would have closed their doors.
>> i like clarity. is that clear to the guy and woman working on the line, who work in the supply industries as well as the main auto shops? >> here is what i don't know, here is what i do know. something has happened in ohio that's put it in a better place for barack obama than i think many of us, at least me, in the political world would have thought it would be at this point. he is still ahead. has that margin narrowed? sure, i think it's narrowed somewhat, but you look at what could it be, and i think it is the auto bailout that's very popular in the state. we know that from polling and the fact that the unemployment rate is significantly under the national average. so those two things allow obama to make an argument that he can struggle to make in a place like north carolina where the unemployment rate is, you know, over 9%, florida, where it's above the national average which is, look, not only did i put in
place this policy that you like, it worked, and that's -- that kind of cause and effect argument is not an argument he can make everywhere, but in truth you hit it right in the opening. he may not need to make it everywhere because if he wins ohio, the number of plausible paths mitt romney has to 270 electoral votes just narrows down. >> steve? >> i think those two factors that chris mentioned are obviously completely connected. the unemployment rate is lower because the auto industry is saved. something like 12,000 more auto jobs alone, just auto, direct auto, plus suppliers and suppliers to -- >> i wish, steve and chris, i wish the president, i'm not as good thinking about this as he and his people i will admit, i'm not sure it's true, the auto industry in this country is so important to our culture that we make cars, we grew up as kids in my generation wanting the new models and falling in love with the thunderbird and the corvette. we always wanted to see the new
cars. we love new car smell in this country. what a crazy thing we are. we love making them. it's a huge thing if it -- >> chris -- >> you deserve credit for working with the president on this. why doesn't the president -- he ought to sing this song loud. i saved the american auto industry, and this guy out here wanted to ditch it. >> i think he's trying to sing it as loud as he can, but the problem is romney does not stick to his positions. he makes up his positions as the president said last night. romney just ignores the past and says, well, yeah, i wanted you to do what you did. here is the important point -- >> how can he say that when he knows guys like you who are in the financial pages, are in that world, know it's bs? how can he talk knowing the smart guys he has to bump into know he's not telling the truth? >> this has been a campaign of factcheck.org. everybody has needed fact checkers to keep them honest. >> and they just do it. >> he just says it. romney says anything. it's the most extraordinary thing to me. >> okay. we got a new cbs/quinnipiac poll. it proves the power of early voting for the president. 1 in 5 iowans polled already voted, 1 in 5 have already voted. 54% to the president. what do you make of that?
what is this, exit polling of people who have mailed in their ballots? >> right. when you ask in the poll you say, have you voted early? if they say yes, say who did you vote for? look, you'd rather be up 15 points in early vote than not up 15 points, i'll say that. now, i talked to republicans before because i knew we were going to talk iowa, and republicans say, yes, we are losing the early vote, we knew we were going to lose the early vote in iowa, but we're losing it by a declining margin from last week. we're losing it on a declining margin as it compares to 2008. it depends which side you think is more important. i would say mitt romney, unlike john mccain -- remember, john mccain took public financing. mitt romney had $183 million in the bank at the end of september. my guess is that kind of money pays for significantly more volunteers, more ground operation.
my guess is romney's ground operation will be better than mccain's in '08. the issue is, is it better than barack obama's in 2012? i don't know the answer to that. >> he has a great one in ohio. >> i'm sure he does. they've known from the start if they could take ohio from romney, it made it almost impossible for him to get to 270. i bet they have a great organization. >> we'll see. steve rattner, thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks for what you did for the car companies. chris cillizza, thank you. up next, president obama said romney is pushing foreign policies from the 1980s, social policy from the '50s, and economic policy from the '20s. their tv viewing habits have a nostalgic bent as well. this is "hardball," the place for politics. new prilosec otc wildberry
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>> yes. >> final, that's it! by the way, who needs more debates to decide? anybody? anybody need like ten more debates to really figure it out? >> latest polls indicate 6% registered voters undecided. undecided. 6% registered voters. make up your mind! >> well, back to "hardball." and with two weeks left in the presidential race, you will see a lot of tv ads, especially if you live in a swing state like ohio or here in d.c. which is right next to virginia. yahoo! news looked at fcc filings from tv stations to find out which shows are most likely to bring you an ad supporting president obama and which is most likely to bring you an ad supporting romney. the cbs sitcom "two broke girls" features two single women trying to make ends meet in new york city. second place for the obama people, "judge joe brown." for romney it was the olympics. and in second place, you will not believe this, this is true,
this is where the romney ads are placed. "the andy griffith show," which stopped production of new shows back in 1968. now back to last night's debate. although it was on foreign policy last night, both candidates knew the top voting issue was the economy. when it comes to our economy here at home, i know what it takes to create 12 million new jobs. >> you are familiar with jobs being shipped overseas. >> people have lost their jobs. >> americans had seen jobs being shipped overseas. >> good jobs of the future. jobs of tomorrow. >> jobs come from -- >> jobs. >> jobs. >> jobs. >> you invested in companies that were shipping jobs overseas. >> neither candidate pushing jobs to the sidelines just two weeks before election day. the atlantic politics blog picked up on a romneyism you may have noticed in last night's face-off. romney has a tendency to start speaking so rapidly that, quote, he just can't stop and the words begin to pile up on top of each
other at the end of the verbal escalator. here is what they're getting at right here. >> i congratulate him on taking out osama bin laden. well, i absolutely believe that's important. we want to make sure they're seeing progress throughout the middle east. these terrorists against our people there. this is a critical opportunity with israel. but once it exploded. and it makes the world more peaceful. >> wow. he needs the extra word just to catch up with himself. anyway, finally mitt romney's statement on foreign policy says that he'll, quote, repair our relationships abroad and create a safer, more secure nation for all americans. but just how much repair is really needed between the united states and other countries? a new bbc world service poll asked people in 21 countries outside the u.s. to choose between your presidential candidates. it looks like it's mitt romney who has the repair work to do. president obama represented by
the blue bar there trounces mitt romney in every country polled except for pakistan. every country but pakistan refers obama. they're at the bottom of the chart. that's pakistan. some countries like france have romney in the single digits. so i guess he's pretty popular out there, the president. up next, president obama is finally laying out his vision for a second term to the american voters, but with two weeks to go, can he make the case in time?. two weeks' time. like a football two-minute drill. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
two teenagers say she was lured to the friend's home and a fire is forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate. kbk to "hardball." ♪ welcome back to "hardball." on the heels the last night's final presidential debate, we have an eye on the closing arguments and how they frame the next two weeks. at a campaign rally earlier today, president obama unveiled his plan for the next four years. this is a big speech this morning, doing something a lot of people thought he should have done sooner. let's see what happens, and let's listen to the president today on his future four years. >> in this campaign i have laid out a plan for jobs and middle class security, and unlike mitt
romney i'm actually proud to talk about what's in it. because my plan actually will move america forward, and by the way, the math in my plan adds up. >> well, with me now are two msnbc political analysts, former pennsylvania governor ed rendell and "the nation" magazine's john nichols. governor, thanks for coming on. you know about politics and policy and how it works. it seems to me that some people really like the fact that romney a couple debates ago had a five-point plan. they just love that packaging, five-point plan. obama had to come back and say it's only a one-point plan because he knew it was trouble. is it important now that the president have his five-point plan even if it doesn't have a lot to do with jobs next week, education, training, building on the manufacturing base, american-made energy, and debt reduction -- deficit reduction. does it add up to the kind of meat and potatoes you need to get an election won looking to the future? >> i think they do, chris, but i think he's late, as you said in
the intro. he's late in putting it together in a one, two, three, four, five, six-point plan, but he's been talking about those components all throughout the campaign. first debate he talked about a $4 trillion simpson/bowles type debt reduction, and he's committed to doing that. he's taken $1 trillion off the debt with what they did at the last session of congress. he's talked about a jobs plan. he laid the jobs plan before the country last october, as you recall, and it included an american energy independence where everything is in, including the production tax credit extending it for wind and solar but for everybody, for natural gas, for oil, for nuclear, for all of our sources of energy. he talked about rebuilding our infrastructure. in the jobs plan there was $75 billion for infrastructure, which is the single best job creator we have. so the president's had many components of that. his commitment to education, which, of course, as we know, chris, is the future of our economy.
we can't compete without a well-educated workforce. all those things the president's talked about in individual components in silos. he's putting them together with a plan. i wish he had done it earlier, but he's talked about every one of them. >> let's get to the timing issue. a lot of people drop news five minutes before the nightly news. you want to have a certain amount of exposure but not too much so it gets taken apart all day. these guys like plouffe, do you think they're thinking about two weeks is about enough time for the people when they're really paying attention to absorb? >> well, yeah, but i think we have to put ad dollars behind this 3.5 million copies of this plan. without ad dollars, there is no plan. >> same question to you. i mean, i agree education -- sometimes i think it's just a sop to the nea when he says it over and over and over again. obviously is means something to people with kids. we know the difference between obama not being who he is and being who he is, he went to the best school in the country. it isn't the class-ridden
society it was 50, 75 years ago. education decides how you do it in this world, right? it does make sense, and without an emphasis on education, you come off as a bit of a anti-education person. is this going to turn it? he puts education up front. that's what people see first. is this a winning argument? >> i think so, chris. yeah, i think so, chris. look, i have got an 8-year-old daughter. i'm one of those people who is very interested in education. i don't happen to be in a teachers union, but i'm glad my kid's teachers are. i think this plan coming at this point is actually very smart. if president obama, who really outlined a lot of this in his acceptance speech at the democratic convention, if they had put it out in a written form back in september, we would have spent most of september arguing about the plan. at this point we end up in a situation where we have two weeks when people are most focused to talk about it, and
this refocuses things on his economic, domestic agenda, and i will remind you, i have covered elections in countries around the world, england, germany, other places, scandinavian countries. they have much shorter election campaigns, and they often have political parties put their manifestos out two weeks before an election and then run hard on that to the end. i think the president might actually be playing smart strategy here. >> well, he was out detailing his plan for the next year as i said in a new airing -- a new ad airing in battleground states. let's watch the ad now. >> here is my plan for the next four years, making education and training a national priority, building on our manufacturing boom, boosting american-made energy, reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where we can and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. and ending the war in afghanistan so we can do some nation building here at home. that's the right path. so read my plan, compare it to governor romney's and decide
which is better for you. it's an honor to be your president and i'm asking for your vote. so together we can keep moving america forward. >> let me ask you two questions, governor, one is do you have to be for something the other guy is against in order to have traction? does it sound like, when you heard that commercial and watched that speech, that obama is for something distinctive from romney so if you want it, you have to vote for him? >> i think that's clever, and i think leading with education is right. i think people do get it, that education is not just something we ought to be doing for our kids, but it's going to shape our economy in the future. so that's very smart. secondly, asking for your vote, that's important. people want to be asked by the candidate for their vote. >> i so agree. last thought, john, i agree with that. that was an old tip o'neillism. people like to be asked for anything. they don't like having things demanded of them. john nichols, quickly, what do you think of the education emphasis? stick to that one point.
>> sure. i think it's really smart because, look, this president can't go and promise a new deal. but what he can promise is a commitment and investment in the future that is both for kids and also economically rooted. the fact of the matter is we're competing in a global economy. we're going to win if we're well-educated and everybody knows that. so it's a smart ask, and also note the calmness, the clarity with which he delivers it. >> i like that. >> he knows there's been too much shouting. this is closing out very calm, very deliberate. i think pretty smart. >> i want to hear shouting from bill clinton later because i think the states like new hampshire, the bite-sized states -- you're laughing -- he could deliver on new hampshire, he could lock pennsylvania in for sure, he could give them iowa and wisconsin. these are nail-biters. thank you so much, governor rendell, and thank you, john nichols. up next, it wouldn't be the day after debate without "inside the actors studio" james lipton. this is going to be fun. guess who had flop sweat last night. it wasn't the president. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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illinois congressman jesse jackson, jr. is back at the mayo clinic. the u.s. congressman was released last month following treatment for bipolar disorder, and his father, the reverend jesse jackson, says today's evaluation may lead to a longer stay at the clinic. congressman jackson took medical leave in june. he's on the november ballot, though he hasn't campaigned beyond a robocall to voters. polls show him leading his republican opponent on the south side, no surprise there, 2-1.
we're back after countless hours of preparation and believe it or not, 270 minutes of actual performance, barack obama and mitt romney have concluded their three momentous nights of debate. and now we've dissected the policy, looked at the politics and now let's look at the performance by both men. with me once more is james lipton, host of bravo. mr. lipton shall you set out to advise mr. romney on his performance but also to find out who the former governor is in
life. what we saw last night was an uncomfortable candidate and if you look closely you can see the perspiration on his upper lip. that shininess prompted actor albert brooks to tweet, if romney sweats any more, i get a royalty. that was referring to this scene from broadcast news. >> our own state department was rocked, not only by the revelation but from the highly unusual persistence of the state press corps. martin cline reports on the raucous at foggy bottom. >> the state department -- >> just how noticeable is this, huh? >> my late dad loved that performance. i think a lot of people identified more with him than the other guys but james what did you make of that? he was dealing with foreign policy and how he had was memorized phrases to use?
>> i suppose that was it. it's a flop term of art and that was flop sweat. flop sweat derives from the days of when he was dancing as fast as he could, knew that he was dying out there and kept sweating and sweating. that's flop sweat. we saw it earlier. we talked about it a long time ago when this campaign began and he was -- he did suffer from flop sweat then. that introduces another term of art which is stage fright. stage fright exists for politicians and certainly exists for actors. i think we saw a little of that last night and the reason was that he was on unfamiliar terrain and, you're right, he had memorized some bullet points and that was what he was delivering. >> yeah. he was referencing things like mali and the al qaeda there and western africa. just to show that he knew about a country about mali. president obama was more at home on the foreign policy turf. he attacked romney for
old-school policies. let's watch a bit of that. >> a few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing america, you said russia. not al qaeda. you said russia. in the 1980s or now calling nassau for their foreign policy back. the cold war has been over for 20 years. just like the social policies of the 1950s and economic policies of the 1920s. i know you haven't been in a position to actually execute foreign policy but every time you've offered an opinion, you've been wrong. >> you know what, james, this is about politics and your field. if president obama, i believe, had looked at romney the way we saw him doing it there at that table, eyeball to eyeball physically, man to man, person to person, i don't think he'd have any problems in the numbers right now. he would have never fallen behind in the first debate because they would say, he stood up to the guy, he stood up to the challenger. how do they feel about the man looking down at his notes to a
guy that he didn't like, didn't think much of but stared him down? >> because. because in the first debate, the man for whom the president had prepared never showed up. whatever preparation he had, what good would it have done him? that person never showed up. >> but he didn't show up last night either. >> but by last night the president was ready for this new moderate mitt romney. he was prepared for him. so it was much easier. look at him. he's looking at him straight in the eye. this is quite different. the first time he was looking at his notes because he was trying to find the guy for whom he expected to confront. >> what did you think of the table? i thought the table was great. i thought that it stopped all of that stupid choreography and trying to -- it was like a scene from "west side story." didn't you like the fact that
they were sitting next to each other in sort of a business environment and he couldn't boss around the moderator because thank god bob schieffer was on the same level as him this time? >> yep. i agree. i liked the table. isn't it nice to hear two people conversing? once upon a time politics was civil. it is no longer. this helped last night, without question. >> did you notice that schieffer, he only got challenged once but when romney did that thing that he often does, sort of push away the moderate, whisk him away, you underling. i thought that was a sign of strength. i've always liked bob schieffer but that's a good moment to stand up to the boss man. >> i agree. what interested me very much was the way in which romney took us back, how retro he was. as you said, he went back to 1916 for his military policy. he went to the 1920s and harding, coolidge and what is good for business is good for the country for his economic
policy. we know how that worked out. he went to the 1950s for the social policies and 1980s for the cold war politics. he comes off last night as something of a luddite. >> thank you, james. it's an honor just to hear your words. in your thinking in preparation for this program, we're humble to have you. we'll be right back.
let me finish tonight with this. mitt romney sweated a bit. he was nervous. he doesn't know foreign policy. he memorizes the words, mid-east tumul, turmoil. but what does it mean to him? obama has been going it alone, obama is preferred in the world, by the way, as we saw in the poll that we showed you because he accepts a leader's role in the world. we are not over the world. we are part of it. we are a special country but that doesn't mean that we are over certain countries. we are wise and fortunate to have gotten some things right. some at the beginning and others over time, things like the importance of the person, the individuality of the state, intrinsic value of personal dignity. i think romney has a more self-righteous view of america's rights in the world and it's discredited.